UPDATE 3-Actavis to take Allergan name, reflecting brand-drug focus

Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:21pm EST
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(New throughout, adds details on growing branded drugs focus, updates share price)

By Caroline Humer

NEW YORK Feb 18 (Reuters) - Actavis Plc, a generic drugmaker that has been steadily acquiring branded medicines, said it will change its name to Allergan Inc after it completes its planned $66 billion purchase of the Botox maker, signaling its growing focus on patent-protected drugs.

Allergan's medicine chest is chock full of branded drugs, which command far higher prices than generics. They include Botox, a $2.3 billion-a-year anti-wrinkle drug also used to treat migraine headaches and other ailments. The company also has a leading portfolio of eye treatments, facial fillers and medical devices.

Actavis, which began as a New Jersey-based generics company called Watson, took its current name after it bought Swiss drugmaker Actavis Group in 2012, a deal that made it the world's third largest generic company. It then beefed up its slate of branded drugs by purchasing Forest Laboratories and Warner Chilcott, which enabled it to move its headquarters to tax-friendly Dublin.

Fourth-quarter sales of Actavis's branded drugs nearly tripled to $1.83 billion in North America, accounting for 45 percent of total revenue, the company said on Wednesday. Generic drug sales rose 1 percent to $1.78 billion.

Actavis posted a better-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast, saying it expected strong sales of new branded drugs.

It agreed to buy Allergan Inc last November, outbidding a hostile offer by activist investor William Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.

Actavis said drugs in its pipeline could bring in $9 billion in revenue once approved.   Continued...